Joining the colourful cartoon of Pencilhead’s Kids Club is Maarli, a bubbly piece of charcoal named in language and voiced by Noongar singer-songwriter Gina Williams.
Pencilhead’s Kids Club is a cartoon which sees main character, Pencilhead, lead a group of stationery cartoon characters around the world on exciting adventures. The show is creative, curious and cute — and aims to teach children between three and five-years-old the value of friendship, courage and fun.
Newly introduced character Maarli was created for and named by Williams.
Williams has a deep love for the animation world and is brimming with excitement to join the Pencilhead crew.
“I have a cartoon character! I can’t believe it. Those things I grew up watching, I now get to be part of that for someone else,” she said.
“I have a subscription to a television service just so I can watch Cartoon Network. I am so excited to do something I’m so passionate about.”
From the duo of Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, Williams writes and performs in Noongar language. A talent that is incorporated in her new role.
“This is an opportunity to share Noongar language in a new way,” Williams said.
“What I am hopeful of is that I can combine my songwriting skills with this to share a really beautiful and rare language.”
Maarli, whose name means ‘black swan’ in Noongar language, is an animated piece of charcoal — one of the oldest art tools in the world according to Williams.
“I love the name Maarli, it is the name we have for the black swan, it’s a beautiful name and brings a special meaning,” she said.
“It’s all about finding ways to use language and incorporate it in a way that makes it normal and ordinary.”
Pencilhead’s Kids Club will be shown at an international stage through a commercial partnership between British brand, B2 Media Ltd and Australia’s Black Wax Entertainment.
“The partnership between Black Wax Entertainment and B2 Media is a significant milestone in the development of the Pencilhead brand. We are excited to partner with such an experienced team in B2 Media, developing crucial sponsorship opportunities,” said Black Wax Entertainment Founding Partner Tristan Jones.
Ali Heppenstall, Managing Director of B2 Media spoke of her excitement for the partnership.
“The international team at B2 Media are excited to be selected by Black Wax to craft powerful digital and live sponsorship opportunities across the Pencilhead brand and new digital series. Pencilhead’s Kids Club draws on universal themes like optimism, empathy and fun with its engaging characters and a global reach,” she said.
“These are valuable elements valuable at a time when the world is indoors spending more time online and sponsors are searching for new and different digital and experiential ways to connect with young people.”
Williams joins former yellow Wiggle, Greg Page AM, who voices Pencilhead.
“Gina’s wonderful talents combined with her passion for Noongar culture and language is an incredibly exciting addition to the wonderful Pencilhead’s Kids Club team,” said Pencilhead Executive Producer Ian Hale.
Williams sees Pencilhead’s Kids Club as an opportunity to bring Australia’s First Languages to both the international and domestic stage.
“With Pencilhead, what is so exciting for me, is that littlies will watch this but so will their mums and dads, so will their grandparents. It’s an opportunity to almost have that captive audience across generations,” she said.
“In the same way that the French language sets France apart from everywhere else in the world, we should be looking at our Indigenous languages as the thing that is unique to where we live.
“We need to change our thinking. It’s not to say we have to learn the entire language, just knowing five words of the language of the Country we are living on, I think the status of our languages would very quickly change.”
To find out more about Pencilhead’s Kids Club or Maarli, visit: https://www.pencilheadskidsclub.com/.
By Rachael Knowles